Aaron Williams: Aurora cops cleared in killing of man saving bullets for officers & police dog
Another week, another letter clearing Aurora Police officers of wrongdoing in a fatal shooting. But whereas the judgment by Seventeenth Judicial District DA Don Quick in the case of Oleg Gidenko, whose family received a $150,000 settlement from the city, stirred debate, there's likely to be far less controversy regarding Aaron Williams, who shot a cop, took a family hostage and threatened a police dog before going out in a blaze of gunfire.
The extremely vivid document, on view below, notes that on March 17, Officer Tomas Campagna began following a Toyota traveling at a high rate of speed. The Toyota's driver, ID'd as Williams, subsequently dismounted and tried to escape on foot. Campagna found him atop a stairway talking on a cell phone. After telling his caller, "I got to go, mom," he pulled a gun from his waistband and began firing. Campagna shot back, emptying his handgun as Williams yelled that he would kill him. By the time Campagna had reloaded, however, Williams was out of sight.
Campagna didn't realize until later that he'd been shot in the right foot and lower leg -- and he wasn't the only one. A witness said Campagna managed to strike Williams in the midsection, which slowed the suspect down but didn't stop him.
A door-to-door search followed, and before long, two officers happened upon an apartment whose owner said the gunman was hiding in a back bedroom. After the apartment resident and the rest of his family were evacuated, cops ordered Williams to surrender, but he refused and remained inside, where he stayed for the next thirty minutes without saying anything. Then, he suddenly showed up at the door, pointed a silver revolver at the cops, barked something unintelligible, and returned to the bedroom.
A few minutes later, Williams asked cops for a phone, and one was tossed to him through a window -- at which point he said his plan was to see "how long four shots would last me." He reportedly told negotiators his plan was to "shoot it out," using his bullets on any cops in the vicinity -- although the first bullet would be reserved for "when the dog comes in."
Oh yeah: After asking cops to "tell my mother I love her," he said he was done talking and was going to "Mars."
He wound up in a very different place. Cops shot gas canisters into the apartment, prompting Williams to jump through the window into a courtyard, gun in hand. At that point, the six officers there began squeezing their triggers. Williams was shot nine times.
Quick's conclusion: Campagna and the officers were wholly justified in using deadly force. Hard to argue with that statement. Read the entire report below:
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Jay Sheridan: Jackie Hasty charged in death of Limon officer killed by husband Dennis Hasty."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Readers: Here's Why the NFL Won't Lift Its Marijuana Ban
- Celebrating the Ten Best Green Chile Places in Denver Right Now
- Denver Development: What Will Happen to Emily Griffth School on Prime City Block?